Thursday, 11 August 2011

Vintage on Southbank - A Review

Hello lovely readers! Today I'm going to share my review of the my time at Vintage on Southbank, something I did on my little blogging break. I'm sorry if you're already bored of hearing about this event, I know that others have already shared their thoughts, but I did feel like I had a lot to say after my visit so please indulge me :)  

Like so many of the rest of you from the London Vintage community I visited Vintage on Southbank at the end of last month. I was very excited about attending this event, the publicity had made the whole thing seem completely irresistible, I mean who wouldn't be drawn to the thought of over 150 different vintage sellers plus musical entertainment, hair do demonstrations and make-do-and-mend workshops? It was eagerly that I booked my ticket (and my lovely mum bought one too) quite a way in advance and I was pretty giddy as I headed in towards the festival. I must admit that by the time I left later I wouldn't quite describe my mood as giddy. Now I'm not saying I had an awful time by any means, I did have an enjoyable day, but I found that my positive experiences were met with an equal number of negative ones. It was a fairly mixed bag of a day!

When reaching the Royal Festival Hall my lovely mum and I had a bit of trouble locating the main entrance as the directions were very poor, but we soon found our way and were inside and ready to go. We were promised 6 floors of vintage goodness and we couldn't wait to get started! However, I can only describe our experiences inside as being a bit of a damp squib. We were given maps of a sort when entering the event but they were not useful in the slightest and so we ended up wandering about aimlessly and hoping that we weren't missing anything. One of the first things we came across were the rooms stocked by Judy's Affordable Vintage Fair, and I was very eager to have a good old browse, but the items on sale were far from affordable. I have written on this blog before about the inflated prices of London Vintage clothes, but these prices were pushing it even for London! There were also a couple of vintage style photo shoots to be had at the event, but you had to pay quite a lot to take part so I decided to pass. I felt a bit disgruntled that after paying £60 each for our tickets many of the treats offered at Vintage could only be enjoyed if we paid yet more money.

Good old Mollie Makes!

I did love the Make-Do-And-Mend area that had been put together by Mollie Makes, providing lessons in crochet and how-tos on fascinators and brooches, but the large amount of people at the event meant that whenever I was in that area of the Festival Hall every seat was taken in each class, so I wasn't able to join in :( It was a real shame. Obviously it was great to see so many people enjoying the workshops but I would have really enjoyed giving one a go myself. Another fun activity going on were the swing dance lessons on one of the upper floors and some vintage hair salons running up there too. Both of these were free, but because of the large amount of people at the event, queuing and over crowding meant that I gave both of these a miss too. To be honest we weren't having the best of times inside the Royal Festival Hall, so we decided to take a breather outside and check out the Vintage Village.

Now the Vintage Village was a sight to see, hundreds of sellers all of whom had stalls stuffed to the gills with vintage goodness. There were also pop up shops created by some of my favourite high street shops including Benefit, Cath Kidston and Horrockses (although unfortunately the dresses in their shop were for display only, they're just selling homewares now). All of this would have added up to equal one fabulous vintage experience, but unfortunately it was not as perfect as it at first appeared. The overcrowding that had been present in the Festival Hall was also present here, but tenfold as the Vintage Village was free to all members of the public which meant that browsing was replaced by tackling your way through huge groups of people just to get a glimpse of what was on sale. The weather was utterly glorious but this also meant that in the tight throng of people the temperatures at times became almost unbearable. My mum and I were gasping after making it half way through the Vintage Village and so were thrilled to see that Crabbies (the makers of the my favourite summer bevvy, alcoholic ginger beer) had a bus set up at the fair, but to add insult to injury they weren't selling bottles of their drink, just giving out small free samples of which we allowed one each. Sad times. Now I did end up buying a very cute pink raffia handbag at the Vintage Village and a 1950s silk scarf, so I didn't walk away completely empty handed, but I didn't have the after purchase glow that I usually get after a vintage purchase. The whole experience was a bit too stressful for me to be honest!

My basic problems with Vintage on Southbank were the over crowding and costs of many of the activities on offer. I felt a bit taken aback that after spending what to me is a lot of money on a ticket to the event in order to have an entertaining and full day I had to spend even more money. Also I expected the event not to be so overpopulated as surely paying said ticket prices should mean that you can actually experience the whole event in comfort? There were some nice touches at Vintage, for example free mini tubs of ice cream, but I feel that the organisers weren't really taking a lot of basic issues into account during their planning. The actual people doing the hard graft on the day were fabulous, the people running workshops or stalls etc. were brilliant and they were what kept me going through the day, but to be honest there was only so much they could do with an event that was flawed on basic levels by it's creators.

I did enjoy some of my time at Vintage on Southbank, but all in all it was definitely not worth the money that I paid for it and I probably won't visit again next year. If I could go back and do things differently I would have not bought a ticket and just gone to the free Vintage Village, the whole thing would have ended up being much cheaper!

To close, however, I am going to share with you the one thing that almost made the day completely worth while, these absolutely incredible blow your socks off amazing singers: the Bombshellettes. We heard them sing in the Royal Festival Hall and everyone around us was swing dancing, it was an amazing experience that I won't be forgetting in a hurry! I hope you enjoy them as much as I did, they blew me away :)

Bye for now! x

1 comment:

Dearest Jackdaw said...

Hello! I've just stumbled across your blog post and wanted to let you know that unfortunately you are not alone. I have added a link to your blog on my post here on Dearest Jackdaw, along with some others. I'm glad you did enjoy your time there, but as many other people have said, you can have the same fun for a lot less and most of the good stuff was free, outside and too crowded.

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